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phaedrus   



come to draw lots and choose their second life, and they may take

any which they please. The soul of a man may pass into the life of a

beast, or from the beast return again into the man. But the soul which

has never seen the truth will not pass into the human form. For a

man must have intelligence of universals, and be able to proceed

from the many particulars of sense to one conception of reason;-this

is the recollection of those things which our soul once saw while

following God-when regardless of that which we now call being she

raised her head up towards the true being. And therefore the mind of

the philosopher alone has wings; and this is just, for he is always,

according to the measure of his abilities, clinging in recollection to

those things in which God abides, and in beholding which He is what He

is. And he who employs aright these memories is ever being initiated

into perfect mysteries and alone becomes truly perfect. But, as he

forgets earthly interests and is rapt in the divine, the vulgar deem

him mad, and rebuke him; they do not see that he is inspired.

Thus far I have been speaking of the fourth and last kind of

madness, which is imputed to him who, when he sees the beauty of

earth, is transported with the recollection of the true beauty; he

would like to fly away, but he cannot; he is like a bird fluttering

and looking upward and careless of the world below; and he is

therefore thought to be mad. And I have shown this of all inspirations

to be the noblest and highest and the offspring of the highest to

him who has or shares in it, and that he who loves the beautiful is

called a lover because he partakes of it. For, as has been already

said, every soul of man has in the way of nature beheld true being;

this was the condition of her passing into the form of man. But all

souls do not easily recall the things of the other world; they may

have seen them for a short time only, or they may have been

unfortunate in their earthly lot, and, having had their hearts

turned to unrighteousness through some corrupting influence, they

may have lost the memory of the holy things which once they saw. Few

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